Today I had the privilege of attending the El Paso County Assembly as a delegate, ready to cast my vote for upcoming county races that will be decided in November. As a newbie, I probably looked a little bewildered trying to find my way around this new realm in which I have ventured. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was not an elite group of professional political junkies (well, some of them were), but instead, average Americans we see in our neighborhoods, or run into at the grocery stores and carpool lanes we frequent.
Like them, I am concerned about the future of our country and wanted to get more involved to make a difference. It felt good to be more informed about the political process, hear directly from candidates and better understand the roles of those we often elect because there’s only one, uncontested bubble to fill-in. I’m still not sure why a coroner or a surveyor is an elected position rather than an appointment, but at least now I know what they busy themselves doing for taxpayer dollars.
At one point they asked for a show of hands to signify first-timers, almost 30% of the attendees raised their hands. Based on comments, it seemed as though that was more than in prior assemblies, but without real numbers it would only be a guess. While making my way through the venue to the meeting place, I could hear mention of the Tea Party event scheduled for next week and several indicating their plans to attend. According to the media we hear that people are angry and I suppose some may be. However, after going and seeing for myself, first-hand, I would describe it as more like resolve. Resolve to pay closer attention, get more involved and defend what we hold dear.
Overall, I must say, I am most encouraged by the willingness of friends and neighbors to step-up and leave apathy behind — a renewed civic interest that is refreshing and inspiring.